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Data: Employment Cost Index, via U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics; Chart: Axios Visuals

America's pay gains just logged a fresh record: wages and salaries surged at the fastest pace ever last quarter.

Why it matters: The data out Friday morning is considered a better gauge of wage gains than others because it's not impacted by the drastic workforce shifts we've seen during the pandemic.

The backdrop: Employers are still doling out pay hikes in an attempt to break a labor shortage stalemate.

  • Costco this week made a last-ditch effort to lure (and keep) workers as the all-important holiday season looms: effective Monday, employees will make a minimum of $17 an hour.
  • It's the second pay raise in eight months (Costco upped it to $16 in February).

What to watch: The retail sector's trade group said Wednesday the sector will hire up to 665,000 seasonal workers this season — one sign of the ferocious appetite by employers to keep up with the demand they expect for their goods.

  • That would be 179,000 more holiday hires than last year, if they can find the people.

One big asterisk: "With prices up 4.4% over the last 12 months, wage increases are barely keeping pace with inflation," economists at Brean Capital wrote Friday.

Go deeper

Weekly jobless claims fall to lowest level since 1969

Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Approximately 199,000 Americans filed initial claims for unemployment insurance‌ last‌ week, a 71,000 decrease from the week before.

Why it matters: The Labor Department said Wednesday it was the lowest level of initial claims since Nov. 15, 1969, when claims reached 197,000.

Biden administration makes first move on data privacy

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The Biden administration is launching its first big effort on privacy policy by looking at how data privacy issues affect civil rights.

Why it matters: An administration perspective on privacy policy could be key in developing a long-awaited national privacy law by putting the White House stamp on how to regulate privacy.

Axios Investigates

Exclusive: Airbnb hosts Xinjiang rentals on land owned by sanctioned group

Data: Axios research, Airbnb, Australia Strategic Policy Institute's International Cyber Policy Centre; Map: Jacque Schrag/Axios

Airbnb has more than a dozen homes available for rent in China's Xinjiang region on land owned by an organization sanctioned by the U.S. government for complicity in genocide and forced labor, an Axios investigation has found.

Why it matters: The listings expose Airbnb to regulatory risk under U.S. law. They also land yet another American tech company in the crossfire between the U.S. and China.

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